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  • Writer's pictureHardingstone Ceremonies

Choosing a Celebrant

A google search of ‘celebrant’ brings up a seemingly endless list of individuals waiting in the wings to conduct your ceremony.  It can be difficult to navigate your way between the many offerings; I hope this guide is useful.

Celebrants can be affiliated to a particular life view such as Humanism, Paganism or other tradition or they can be Independent (sometimes known as Civil celebrants).  I am an Independent ‘Heart-led’ Celebrant meaning I am not obligated to provide any particular kind of ceremony but rather free to work with you to create whatever kind of ceremony reflects your values. I value the freedom afforded me by being a truly independent celebrant and enjoy creating ceremonies that are religious, spiritual or entirely secular.

A celebrant’s website and social media output will give you a good sense of their ethos.  Try commenting on a post; the response can be illuminating.  Beware of generic artistic photographs which may look beautiful but are clearly staged - real ceremonies featuring real people are more reflective of the ceremonies any particular celebrant is confident and experienced in conducting.

The fees charged by celebrants vary greatly from £200 - £1000 for a union or £150 - £300 for a funeral and just as much variety for other occasions.  Of course the work of a celebrant is far more extensive than the time it takes to deliver a particular ceremony.  My own ceremonies involve many hours of writing, practising and crafting as well as the time spent meeting with clients to ensure I thoroughly understand their wishes for the occasion.  For this reason, I advise you to look carefully at the process any particular celebrant offers for their given fee.  Make sure you understand what is included - some celebrants choose to offer their services from £x and then make additional charges for each element of their service. My fees are usually all inclusive and suit the vast majority of clients’ needs.

I would also caution against any celebrant who suggests that an in-person meeting is unnecessary.  Of course, there are times when online meetings are invaluable - if for example family is arranging a funeral from abroad.  Usually however, it is the time spent meeting with the deceased’s loved ones or with the parents of a child ahead of a naming ceremony that allows a celebrant to do what we do best - to reflect fully the character and values of the people at the centre of the occasion.  I have heard plenty of horror stories about celebrants writing eulogies on their phones in between funeral services; such practice is a monumental disservice to the deceased, their families and to conscientious celebrants.

The vast majority of celebrants will, like me, offer an initial online meeting free of charge; it is important to use this to explore as thoroughly as possible whether the individual is right for you.  Don’t be pressured into making a commitment until you are happy you have found the right celebrant.  The individual you choose is going to be integral to the occasion you craft together; the right celebrant will create the perfect ceremony for you.  

Whoever you choose as the celebrant for your forthcoming occasion, I wish you every success.  If you would like to work with me to create your unique occasion, please get in touch.

By Catrina Young, Leicestershire Heart-led celebrant, Marking Life’s Moments.

© Hardingstone Ceremonies, April 2024

Photographs of Catrina Young, Celebrant by Sarah Salotti.

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